Geography & Breaking Down Barriers

Have you ever had someone who sells books come to your house and try to get you to buy the equivalent of an entire library, and they won't take no for an answer?  Yesterday, thanks to a neighbor, I was able to meet a very nice young college student.  Her name was Elizabeth.

The fact that Elizabeth was a college student was not the big deal, the fact that she was from Estonia was.  I asked her how she was holding up in the Alabama heat.  She said everyone was asking her that.  Well duh, Estonia is located right under Finland & the daily high during the month of August is between 74 and 65 degrees.  It's a little hotter here.  I mean, Estonia is on the 60 degree longitudinal line.  That's on the same longitude the southern part of Alaska.  We're a little warmer down here than Alaska.

Another barrier was language.  I couldn't imagine going to a foreign country and trying to speak the language.  Elizabeth, actually spelled, Elizaveta (Eлизaвeтa), is trilingual.  I just think that's incredible.  She said her English was not that good.  I told her I didn't agree.  English is difficult for those of us who live here, I can't imagine trying to learn to speak it and write it when it is so different from my native tongue.  She said this was an interesting country.  I hope she feels like she is welcomed here.  She leaves in a month to go home to Estonia to continue to her college education.  She's studying logistics.  I hope she does well.

I started thinking about language barriers when I worked registration at my children's schools.  I can't imagine moving to a different country and not being able to read or write in that language.  If I were to go to Mexico, I could ask where the bathroom or library are; I can tell someone that I have a little dog; and that I'm fat; but I can't carry on an intelligent conversation.  It has to be intimidating for someone from an Asian country or an eastern country where the alphabet is completely different.  Like I said, I have a  new appreciation, and will try to have a lot more patience when I am working with or for someone from a foreign country.

What can I say, I still growing. 

Celebrating Life!
~ashley

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